Worst of the worst: Send us all your FTTN node photos


blog Right around Australia, right now, the NBN company and its contractor are deploying thousands upon thousands of brand Fibre to the Node cabinets and micronodes.

Sometimes the NBN company gets it right. The node cabinet is deployed in an out of the way corner, in a part of a neighbourhood where nobody will notice it, and it won’t get in anyone’s way.

And then there are the times where someone just completely stuffed it up. Take the photo above, for example.

In this case (in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains), the node cabinet has been deployed right outside a National Australia Bank branch, meaning customers will be forced to walk around it to get onto the footpath.

No doubt a number of people have already accidentally bumped into this one, and of course the NBN company also didn’t realise that it located a node where local businesses normally put their rubbish bins.

Here’s a couple more photos of another node, again in Katoomba.



Here the NBN company has deployed a FTTN cabinet in a tiny, packed in space next to a rubbish bin, and in between two public telephone boxes and a bus shelter, leaving local residents almost no space to walk past on the footpath.

What’s worse, this cabinet has been deployed directly outside a Telstra telephone exchange.

Did the NBN company not get the memo that FTTN was supposed to be a solution that would allow the NBN to extend fibre further into neighbourhoods? What possible purpose could be served by deploying a FTTN cabinet directly outside a telephone exchange, where the existing copper already terminates?

What I want to do with this article is encourage people to send any similar shots you have of bad placement of FTTN cabinets or micronodes.

Has the NBN company put a cabinet in a tightly congested area? Right next to a door, or almost blocking a driveway? Has it torn up a lawn to get the job done, or are there more examples of FTTN cabinets directly outside telephone exchanges? Is there still legacy copper cable hanging out of the unit somewhere?

Send all photos to renai@delimiter.com.au in as high resolution as possible, or post links in the comments under this article, and in a week or so we’ll publish a featured selection of the worst of the worst. Also let me know where you found these examples so we can caption them appropriately. And don’t worry, we’ll maintain confidentiality as to who sent in these photos.

The aim of the exercise is to build up a picture of how the Coalition’s preferred FTTN architecture is affecting Australia’s streets. FTTP, of course, also had streetside cabinets, much less of it — it will be interesting to see how things have changed in a FTTN world.

For those in areas (such as Canberra) which have non-NBN FTTN infrastructure (TransACT has a large FTTN network here), please feel free to join in on the fun.


  1. What’s worse, this cabinet has been deployed directly outside a Telstra telephone exchange.

    Wow, crazy stuff!

    The only possible reason I can think of for plonking a Node out the front of an exchange like this is that it’s A/ not a POI and B/ Telstra intend to flog the exchange land off after the area is fully cut over to MtM.

    • The reason is very simple. NBN are only taking ownership of the distribution copper from the pillar outwards, not the main cabling. So they can’t go into the exchange, because the solution would then be dependent on plant they don’t own.

      It would also require them to pay Telstra on an ongoing basis for rack and MDF space to locate and terminate the DSLAM, whereas the cabinet is a one-off cost.

      • The 121 POI’s are Current Telstra exchanges etc. but like Derek said its likely this isn’t one of the 121 and our its possible if it is its considered ‘full’.

  2. David Attenborough voice:
    Here we have the Node, normally a reclusive, shy creature that avoids human contact. Yet this year there has been a significant change of habitat. The node and its lime green coat has arrived near human civilisation. Shopping centres and banks are the new node habitat. Perhaps the node is seeking new food sources as it nests next to rubbish bins. This unusual node behaviour will need careful scrutiny to assess its impact upon the broader ecosystem.

  3. and of course the NBN company also didn’t realise that it located a node where local businesses normally put their rubbish bins.

    Rubbish goes where rubbish goes. I’m not sure I understand the grievance with this photo Renai.

  4. I guess by putting the node next a rubbish bin they are hinting at how trashy the new network is :P

  5. “What’s worse, this cabinet has been deployed directly outside a Telstra telephone exchange.

    Did the NBN company not get the memo that FTTN was supposed to be a solution that would allow the NBN to extend fibre further into neighbourhoods? What possible purpose could be served by deploying a FTTN cabinet directly outside a telephone exchange, where the existing copper already terminates?”

    It’s placed there simply because that is within proximity of the current location of the existing Pillar. NBN FTTN is now running POI -> Node -> Pillar -> Premise. The design of FTTP has zero to do with the design and is not factored in.

    In this case the node outside the exchange supports x2 Pillars and is located half way between the two
    -One: https://goo.gl/maps/332bbkdMnF22
    -Two: https://goo.gl/maps/FAQeumamv1w

    In general, there aren’t many “good” locations up that strip of road.

    • The two phone booths, chair and bus shelter however not an issue. Nor the thousands of other utility boxes around the country.

      On friday I provided a link to the largest dump of actual NBNCo performance data to date, passed without comment. Yet two stories today about FTTN enclosures, request for even more. Bizarre (speaks volumes)

      • Go work for a council and see how many complaints you receive about a chair and bus shelter locations.
        When you come back with a list as long as your arm, then you may speak on the subject.

      • “Not an issue”

        Seems nothing is an issue to some. Like blow outs in cost from fully costed $29.5B to pick a number between $40B – $70B with associated 4 year hold ups.

        So granted, in comparison to the big picture complete fuck up, this is a small issue.

      • I guess it really isn’t all about you then.
        Post it again, it seems nothing you posted Friday had any substance

      • Yes Richard since the end of March they only have 36190 FTTN connected to a service out of all the trials and NBN own glacial rollout.

      • @Richard,

        I think many would argue that they’d like less on their footpaths, and does anyone recall the last time they saw someone on a phone booth! While FTTP is subject to similar issues, it’s fresh design has limited constraint by existing CAN and none by power, along with placement strategy that will minimize impact. Even better would have been following the trial results in VIC that may require no above ground cabinets!

        Curious on which data that you refer to as dumping on Friday. If ACCC report, I think it speaks volumes about Telstra’s Business Strategy once again ripping off naive customers and holding back Australia’s internet interests.

        • DC there’s no doubt FTTN nodes take space, also that new copper to connect them will be required. No doubt FTTH has many advantages; just not cost and speed of deployment. These all obvious.

          The data link provided Friday has nothing to do with Telstra, but exposes the shallowness of the FTTH arguments and the policy folly that IRR remains positive. The highlights (actuals @ 31 MAR 2015):

          a) 906k paying customers (+ 35k ISS).

          b) 84% choosing 25mbps download speed or lower (continues to grow), 4% @ 50mbps, 13% @ 100mbps

          c) 65 (yes; true) choosing speeds greater than 100mbps.

          d) 6% already utilising FTTN/B (outperforming FTTH historically).

          e) 952gbps of provisioned PoIs TC4 CVC capacity, or just 1.05mbps per customer

          f) Weighted average AVC speed of 31mbps (down from 34mbps EY2015, 35mbps EY2014)

          g) 75% utilising TC1

          h) Negligible number using TC2, reflective of few business users.

          i) two-thirds of customers in regional areas (prioritising underserved areas)

          Few surprises for those familiar with contemporary internet demand and contended telco network design. FTTHers claim re demanded speed destroyed by customer choice. The numbers also devastating for the company’s projected IRR (as expected: revenue underperforming).

          Direct opex offsetting cost exposed as rubbish with actual numbers. Now customer requested demand and RSP activated backhaul exposing their shallow understanding (read comments re 12/1 with low contention or FTTN uplink, how they abused; yet higher than today’s actuals).

          • So Richard so after 2.5 years of all the connected customers it’s only 6% for FTTN and FTTB lol

          • All very valid points, except for the dismissal of Telstra. Once you do the breakdown you find that the > 50mbps sits at 26% for Optus, 23% for TPG and 11% for a woeful Telstra. (You could factor in their higher phone only users).

            Telstra have made it painful in comparison to the other ISP’s in encouraging users to move to higher tier plans. They don’t even mention speed tiers until a user is 6-7 clicks through the sign up process, and even then have a higher mark up than others. It’s just following their tried and tested business plan of high margins through high price, low cost and lock in contracts

            Also interesting but not surprising that FTTN AVC take up of higher tier plans is around 50% less, which is relatively equivalent to 50% not being able to achieve 60-70+. I wouldn’t consider only ~40,000 on FTTN/FTTB a raging success after 2 1/2 years by any means, considering the comparison to FTTP which also included entire design and build of both company and network from ground up. It’s very concerning that they have such a low uptake on what they claim is a large number of “passed premises”.

            It will be interesting also to see if Telstra maintains their dominance in the Metro areas as they do Regional. TPG and Optus significantly stronger in these locations. As you also pointed out that around half are regional users, and I’d make a decent argument that it would be expected to have lower tier take up in Regional and higher tier take up in Metro (per the earlier corporate plans). Shame we don’t get that additional breakdown.

          • Conroy’s NBNCo activated 4.5k fibres customers in its first 3 years (or 4.5 years after elected). JK repeatedly post 30k rollout exposed as rubbish he goes performance an order of magnitude greater. Simpletons.

            DC low takeup likely to reflect stalled deployment. Let’s not believe that deploying FTTP required much design work, been done for years. Quigley sub-contracted most of the work, failed using inexperience contractors.

            Telstra doing what Telstra does. Still dominating.

          • “FTTH has many advantages; just not cost and speed of deployment.”
            Yes that full 12 months that this infinitely inferior solution saved is truly a miracle, and the cost savings of -$30b is marvellous!

            “84% choosing 25mbps download speed or lower (continues to grow)”
            You mean >65% choosing 25mbps download speed or higher? Seems like a win actually. And that 12mbps speed – that continues to shrink – means that the network is taking in more cash than anticipated. Another win.

          • E) even better, they demand 1gbps last mile connection to average 1mbps of provisioned Internet backhaul.

            Don’t worry, we’re told the data is of no importance. Back to node pics and bile comments.

          • What ISP’s offer 1 Gbps retail? I wonder who those 65 are, and what business case they had for it. If its general public, they’re wasting money, but if they are small or medium businesses its a whole different argument.

            I’m happy that where FttP is an option 66% connect at 25 Mbps or faster, given your beloved Liberals have said we dont need anything more than 15 Mbps.

            You and Richard just wont understand that this is about the next few decades and longer, not the next election cycle.

          • GG 8th year, 20% complete, tens of billions sunk, budgeted to lose min $2b every year for future estimates. Taxpayers certainly for the long term.

            Note TC 1&2 numbers. Businesses aren’t using your NBN.

            The expected economic transformation is exposed by actuals for the con a few of us have pointed out for years. You mock 15mbps (as they did my 12/1 low contention) yet it’s 5 times the provisioned Internet capacity of your “100mbps” NBN connection.

          • so Richard NBN started in 2008 then? 20% complete when wait for it we where all to get 25Mbps by this years and the SR said 45% would be complete this year. And this as you claim is a faster rollout lol. Now spending $56B on the MTM when it value is $27B

          • Indeed Jason.

            And I see after endlessly sobbing like a spoilt brat about bile.. the hypocrisy of Dick again shows no end… referring to you as a simpleton. WTF?

            Obviously, the far right, 1950’s, flat earthers believe the rules only apply to others and as such, his own narcissistic hypocrisy, has yet again gone straight over his own head… *sigh*

            But yes, we now see the usual suspects deep in election mode and here in full flight spreading their special brand of yessir idiocy, mixed with lies and contradictions…

            FTTP was from scratch – something they “never” actually acknowledge when doing comparisons. Unlike his MTM dung heap, which had all the ground work, mucho backhaul, contracts in place, etc, etc and this rabble only had to steer.

            Half the network (copper/HFC) is already there too…FFS. And they still fuck it up.

            Yet the most inept government in living memory (now somewhat improved sans Abbott – but then how couldn’t it improve ;) and the $3m man (remember them all criticising MQ for his $2m and never acknowledging he gave his complete first years salary to charity) have completely fucked the MTM by as much as $40B (yes $40B according to our previous Treasurer… but what would he know about $’s) and it’s many years behind.

            Something also never acknowledged by these faithful apple polishers…

            But it’s great to see them keeping up the good work for “Team Straya”, I’m sure their superiors will throw them a bone, if/when they win come July.

          • Jason K,

            Now spending $56B on the MTM when it value is $27B

            Incorrect and incorrect.

          • GongGav,

            I’m happy that where FttP is an option 66% connect at 25 Mbps or faster,

            The stats at Half year December 2015 are 78% use 12/1 and 25/5 speeds on FTTP.

            given your beloved Liberals have said we dont need anything more than 15 Mbps.

            They didn’t actually say that.

          • Devoid you are incorrect and incorrect. But unlike you I back up my statement with facts.

            Fifield said there is no room for $29M for FTTP for west tas in the $46-$56B budget. So when there is no room in the budget then the budget cost the full amount of $56B

            The national broadband network will only be worth $27 billion when it is complete – less than half what it will cost to build, according to auditing firm PwC.

          • So Jason… the UPTO *sigh* $56B (or $70B, depending upon which one of the adults you believe…) will actually only be worth $27B when completed?

            So our tax dollars are being squandered on retrograde obsolescence (just like we said)… !!!!

            Really just $27B, even less that the first lie of $29.5B?

            Well that’s just the shit icing on the mouldy cake, proving MTM to be the most visionless, inept and let’s just say it, complete fuck up, in our history.

            But let’s compare to NZ and UK etc and see if we can (as I’m sure we can) claim MTM to be the biggest fuck up ever, anywhere…

          • alain, I’m referring to Richards report, which is also the one you comment on about 65 customers on over 100 Mbps. Thats not a relevant stat, because its not a common option, hence me asking what ISP’s offer it. I’m actually curious how 65 people managed to connect, and the supplier may give a clue as to why.

            As for the rest, I think you’re off with the fairies a bit. Again. Same report, which shows broadly 500k out of 750k on 25 Mbps or more. Richard spruiked 84% on 25 Mbps or lower, I’m pushing its 66% on 25 Mbps or higher.

            Look at the numbers yourself. Its right there.

    • If people want to submit FTTP stuff as well, go for it, but my impression is that FTTP uses dramatically less cabinets — as such, I haven’t been receiving complaints about them, unlike FTTN.

      • The FTTP cabinets are much smaller as well, and so far less likely to obstruct large areas of footpath.

      • You are 100% correct. I am in an FTTP area. It’s a big area. There is ONE FDH cabinet. I had a walk around to find it. I nearly missed it. The FDH was well positioned to the side of the road where nobody would bump into it. There also wasn’t anything else within 30 metres of it.

        There is NO comparison between Fibre Distribution Hubs, which are smaller and cream coloured, and these FTTN monstrosities.

        So Reality, where ever you got that idea from about Fibre Distribution Hubs from it’s total bullshit. I know that because I can SEE where I am that it’s bullshit.

      • You won’t get many complaints about FDH cabinets (especially not here) because those with an agenda against FTTN will actively pursue and travel out of their way and photograph open doors and cabinets supposedly in ‘wrong positions’, the latter of which is a totally subjective opinion, they are not seeking a balance by looking at FTTP suburbs and FDH cabinet locations or their open doors.

        if you ask the people who live in the area if they have a problem especially with the FTTN cabinets as distinct from the myriad of cabinets in suburbia here and overseas including electrical cabinets , large traffic light control cabinets, FDH cabinets, the large green cabinets Australia Post vehicles use for the postie drops etc etc, the majority would not have a clue what the purpose each cabinet is for let alone care.

        Those with a problem with FTTN cabinets would in the main be those that think they are ‘owed’ Labor FTTP.

        • Blah blah blah, did the IPA give you a LibTroll Smacko for that garbage you just typed Devoid?

        • There have been articles in the past about FTTH cabinets and bad connections. You will still see people post them now and then. But if you hadn’t noticed, they are rolling it out any more, they are rolling out FTTN cabinets now and only just recently. Is it OK if we cover currently relevant news with your bleating away trying to avoid it?
          If you don’t have a problem with the cabinets, well good for you. Do you think anyone cares? No, they wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.
          Sorry, no time for political trolls like yourself. Your on par with door to door salesmen and telemarketers.

        • … those with an agenda against FTTN …

          I have an agenda against FTTN alain. Just as I have an agenda against other obsolescent stupidity (say dirt roads) which would certainly be detrimental if constructed now, as obsolete copper based FTTN is…

          I’ve given you a logical reason why I am against FTTN, so what’s your excuse for supporting such dumb obsolescence and having the audacity to bag those who want better for us all including you and your’s, well?

          Careful it could be another of those loaded question… *sigh*

          Because you now support obsolescence referred to previously, by the very Coalition who know roll it out, as FRAUDBAND?

          And you support the HFC part of MTM which you personally described as FAILED a number of times previously?


          Go on spit it out, after all, it’s the worst kept secret @ Delimiter.

          You’re welcome.

          • I have an agenda against FTTN alain. Just as I have an agenda against other obsolescent stupidity (say dirt roads) which would certainly be detrimental if constructed now, as obsolete copper based FTTN is…

            Well said Rizz +1

            I also have an agenda against FttN and I don’t believe i need to apologise for it either. I have an agenda against FttN because I am “technology agnostic”. I believe that the technology a GBE uses should be one that meets today’s needs as well as the needs of those for years to come. Infrastructure capable of 100mbps upload now and 1gbps and beyond later. Logically that is FttP. Those that deny this should be apologising to us for their dogmatic attitudes in favor of exhausting inadequate and rotted copper.

        • “those with an agenda against FTTN”

          hi there Reality,

          I’d like to remind you that Delimiter, as a site and as a community, explicitly has an agenda against FTTN. We are for FTTP and blatantly so. It’s all spelled out in Delimiter’s Statement of Principles:


          Principle 2: Where there is a choice of technologies to be implemented, we support the option that will be the best fit for purpose in the long-term.

          There are a number of different mechanisms for judging which technology should be implemented in any situation. Some are based on pure technical capability, some on human factors such as usability, and some on financial issues such as cost or return on investment.

          When judging what technology should be implemented, Delimiter believes that all available factors should be considered, with a view to finding the best solution for the long-term.

          You posted today as though this is some kind of conspiracy. But the fact is, it is explicitly stated on Delimiter as a fact.

          Just like the Daily Terrorgraph is pretty much explicitly against the Labor Party, Delimiter is explicitly for FTTP.

          That is, until someone finds a better technology. Then our principles will bind us to support that.

          Only … I think it will be a while before someone finds a network technology that delivers data faster than the speed of light …

          • Renai given this site’s policy why isn’t Quigley’s GPON decision attacked? Clearly not the best long term tech vs P2P fibre given the acknowledged limitations.

            Should we attack the latest skinny fibre LDN deployment model as well?

          • Richard, are you trying to troll and this was the best you could come up with?

            Do we really need to spell out to you, an accountant, why PON is an ideal compromise between upfront cost, long term upgrade path, maintenance costs, running costs and performance?

          • Indeed Derek,

            It’s just more of the same lame excuses from the same ideologues, which is part and parcel of today’s ultra conservatives.

            Instead of manning up to how retrograde and absolutely hopeless MTM is, they are compelled to blame anyone and everyone else…

            Richard, we are here in the now, MTM is the roll out and it is a disaster of unprecedented proportions, exactly as we told you it would be when you were beating the chest and claiming MTM was if you could have been commissioned to write it, some years ago…

            But as has become evident, that H U G E ego just won’t allow reality to hit home, eh?

        • @ alain,

          “if you ask the people who live in the area if they have a problem especially with the FTTN cabinets… (add dumb waffle)…the majority would not have a clue what the purpose each cabinet is for let alone care.”

          At best conjecture at worst pointless lies.

          How do “you” know what the majority of Aussies think about cabinets, let alone have the hide to claim your drivel as fact?

          Oh I see, this is simply a continuation of “your non-existent facts”, you simply flip-flop and contradict, at any given time.

          You’re welcome.

        • “Those with a problem with FTTN cabinets would in the main be those that think they are ‘owed’ Labor FTTP.”
          After paying for two FTTP rollouts, the Australian public is CERTAINLY owed at least one full FTTP rollout – yet they will get none.

    • Because alain, we are discussing the implications of the largest portion of “current plan”.

      Remember the plan you keep telling us all is the current plan and then telling us to stop living in the FTTP past?

      Yet at every opportunity you are the first to actually harp back to the previous FTTP roll out, such as in this instance, March 2014.

      Odd, to say the least.

      You’re welcome.

      • Remember the plan you keep telling us all is the current plan and then telling us to stop living in the FTTP past?

        Very good point Rizz +1

    • The main difference with FTTP FDH is that the network was planned from the ground up. Cabinet location was able to take into consideration for optimal placement including non-impact for locations. Recently I visited Kiama and even as an early site the FDH’s were in non-obtrusive locations, and were difficult to spot in many cases.

      FTTN is constrained by the existing CAN and access to power supply. The nodes need to be in reasonable proximity to the pillars they serve, and in a case such as Katoomba, they are constrained by the lack of available space on the main street. Some power utilities also have restrictions on the distance and access to power supply for the nodes (read one has 20m restriction for example)

  6. Oh this should be fun :)

    Renai you are likely to be public enemy #1 at NBN Co right now.

    • “NBN Co”

      Half of that company loves me, sends me documents, information, compliments about my articles, jokes about the MTM etc.

      The other half blacklists me and sometimes refuses to admit my existence :)

  7. Hey Renai, I have pictures of some Cabinets but the sad thing is there’s nothing wrong about the placement about them from what I can tell.

    Can I still send them in anyway just for the heck of things?


    • Actually that is good. Because it validates the truth of the FTTN cabinets that have been stuffed up.

    • Whilst a FTTP advocate, to be fair, the nodes that I have seen thus far (although rare – maybe 4 or 5) have all appeared to be enclosed, doors closed, completed, etc.

      And whilst the nodes are obviously large, unsightly and intrusive, again the ones I have seen have been placed on the footpath between properties, back towards the boundaries to make them as unobtrusive as possible.

      Although where one is, I noticed the bitumen road had been dug up and redone, but perhaps that was a coincidence/road issue in that area?

  8. Perhaps photos of attracted graffiti are worth seeing too. I know of one in a suburban street. If one has to have a node, it is not badly placed as it is in a very quiet street with minimal pedestrian traffic. But it is a platform for the ONLY graffiti in the area. Sadly I am too far away from it to produce a photograph in the near future.

  9. Those nodes are rubbish anyway so they should go where the rubbish bins go. Hopefully the rubbish truck picks it up one day.

  10. I do love/hate the irony of putting the FTTN cabinets right outside the exchange. My copper now has to travel a further 80m to get to the node over the exchange that I’m currently connected to because there wasn’t enough room to put the node next to the pillar. The pillar is about 10m from the exchange.

  11. In all fairness, these are no worse than some of the other things that are out there. Shrug. Considering the size of these buggers, those ones you are showing are actually fairly “out of the way”.

    Would be better not to have them at all though.

Comments are closed.